It’s been a meme on the Internet for at least a decade. There was even a hit song made out of it. It ends with “dance like no one is watching.”
Me? I like to dance like everyone is watching. I love to dance and I am not shy.
But I get it. Expressions of joy and creativity are frightening, and it is often easier to imagine you are alone.
My daughter had a talent show last week. We heard about it last minute, and she had already said what she wanted.
“I want to sing.” And she wanted to sing her own song.
“It should start out romantic, and then turn rocky.”
Daddy handed her off to me.
I was going to help her write a song, an original song to make her vision come true.
Yes, it was impossible and ridiculous.
But if she wanted to do it, I was going to make it happen.
I found a sound track that was free for re-use and close enough to what she wanted.
The biggest constraint was that the talent show only allowed 3 minutes. But the track fit that constraint.
Next were words. I asked her what she wanted to sing about.
“The starry night. And how the moon is beautiful. I am in love with the moon and I want to marry the moon.”
So I gave her a microphone (a prop) and let her freestyle it.
She sang low, and it wasn’t her best singing. She can sing better than that.
So we took it through again, and I had her sing higher. That was a little better.
We talked about what sorts of words she could sing. She had a lot of ideas. I tried to see if we could hone in on a few.
We did practice repeating phrases throughout. It was pretty great! She just said the same thing, but it was melodic.
She said she wanted to sing whatever she was thinking.
“But won’t you be nervous, and forget what you were going to say when you are in front of people?”
She thought about that.
So we practiced a few nights.
Then the talent show happened.
She was not nervous. She sang what was on her mind, straight into the real microphone. She did sing low and off key, like I’d been trying to help her avoid. Yet she had her hand on her hip, and did spontaneous twirls where appropriate.
She sang and danced like everyone was looking, because that was exactly what she wanted.
Afterwards, she solicited fans.
“Mommy! I have 6 fans!”
Not once was she shy or embarrassed.
That talent show was a safe place. She didn’t have to fool herself into thinking no one was listening. She knew that everyone was listening and everyone loved it, loved her.
I would that the whole world could be that for all of us.